The Brownlow Medal, also known as the Charles Brownlow Trophy or “Charlie”, is the most prestigious individual award in the Australian Football League (the highest professional competition of Australian Rules Football). It is awarded to the “best and fairest” player throughout the regular season. Under the current system, after each game the 3 field umpires determine the 3 best players in that game and award them 1-3 votes (3 being the best player). The player with the most votes at the end of the season is awarded the medal and multiple medals are awarded if the voting is tied. To be eligible for the award a player must not have been suspended by the AFL Tribunal during the season. The medal was first awarded in 1924, when the league was known as the Victorian Football League, and was named after Geelong footballer and administrator Charles Brownlow who died earlier that year. Let’s find out who won the inaugural Brownlow Medal.
Who won the first Brownlow Medal?
Fittingly, the first Brownlow Medal was won by the Geelong footballer Edward Greeves, Jr., better known by his nickname “Carji.” Greeves won the award with 7 votes over George Shorten (Essendon) and Bert Chadwick (Melbourne) with 6 votes each. At this time a single vote was given to the player adjudged best on the ground. Greeves was awarded 7 votes from just 14 games played. Amazingly, he remains one of the youngest ever winners of the award, at just under 21 years of age. His team, the Geelong Football Club, received the most votes with 11 in total. However, the club missed the finals (playoffs) in 1924! Unlike the modern televised extravaganza, the Brownlow Medal was presented to Greeves at the headquarters of the VFL without much fanfare at all.
Did you know?
The Geelong Football Club Best and Fairest award is named the Carji Greeves Medal out of respect for his achievement. Ironically, he never won the Best and Fairest award at his own club!
Greeves was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 1996.